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Device Detection and the Future of Website Optimization

Posted on 7.19.2015

Pop quiz for digital marketers, and web developers for that matter. Do you know what proportion of your website traffic comes from mobile devices? Better still, do you have visibility of what those devices are and how they perform on your website?

If you’re like the vast majority of businesses out there, then you probably either just shrugged your shoulders or stared vacantly at your ever growing ‘to-do list’ instead of answering. It’s a case of priorities, and while getting from desktop to mobile HAS been a priority, the next evolution of tackling the challenge of the multiple screen is only just grabbing the attention of digital marketers.

Most businesses are still getting to the grips with the fact that they need to ‘do something different’ for users on mobile devices as opposed to desktop. The very thought that mobile experiences could vary across different screens, such as tablet, smartphone, feature phone and then even further by model, screen size, CPU (I could go on) is just too much to take on board for many right now. Also, regardless of which research you buy into, consumers on the web use different devices at different times of the day and behave differently on each device. The notion of a single ‘mobile’ experience is dead; viva device diversity, which can be a marketer’s biggest nightmare if they don’t arm themselves with the right data.

Before we’re beset by Mobilegeddon-style hysteria, let’s put this into context. Not every business will have the need or resources to build multiple websites for every potential user device or scenario. Some will cater for their broadest user base, so, if 80% of your traffic comes from the iPhone 5, common sense tells you to focus your efforts on that. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial for marketers to understand which devices their visitors are using, so they can understand how content is performing across each segment, and then take the appropriate steps to optimize their website. 

It is also important to frame the changing expectations of today’s consumer. In the recent global People’s Web Report, close to 70% of consumers said they would go to a competitor website if it was not optimized for their device. That’s a lot of people to be upsetting with poor experience. 

There are varying degrees of sophistication with which businesses can optimize once they have device information in place, but looking at this data should be your starting point. Detecting not only the device type, but also information, such as screen size, CPU speed, and detecting the touch interface type, can provide you with insight into why users engage with your website and why they leave. The benefits are two fold – not only can you retrospectively understand which devices perform and which do not, but many forward-thinking companies are already using device detection at a more proactive level to improve the overall customer experience.

Sitecore is a great example of a company using device detection tools to drive better customer service. As a leading content management system provider, having the ability to allow its customers to receive an optimized experience every time they log on is becoming increasingly important. Being able to accurately detect which devices are arriving at their websites and making sure all screens are served the most appropriate page layout, content, and user experience is a huge advantage. This can give you a head start in identifying why content performs badly on certain devices, as well looking at how newly launches devices, like wearables, smart TVs, etc., perform on your website. We’re entering an era whereby devices are fragmented and users have a greater choice about what device they use to access your website. Smart marketers are getting ahead of the curve of building up a clear picture of what devices their visitors use and where they need to prioritize the optimisation of content for certain screens.

Interested in seeing how device detection could help you better understand your web visitors? Get a FREE 30-day trial of Netbiscuits Device Detection.

About Netbiscuits Device Detection

Netbiscuits Device Detection is a service used by thousands of websites, providing accurate information relating to the visitor’s device in an instant. Device Detection then ensures that only the right images, code and functionality are used, significantly reducing web site loading time for the visitor and delivering a better user experience.

Netbiscuits Detection is based on the company’s device library, containing thousands of devices from feature phones, smartphones and tablets, to Smart TVs and wearable devices. The library has been continually developed and maintained in-house since 2000

It is the leading device detection service for Apple device detail – including individual iPhone versions – and Android browsers, where other device libraries have been proven to contain significant error rates

devices

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